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What is Wellness?

Written by Becky Kuehn, our own Euro grad (yes, we're proud!). She is the founder of Oncology Spa Solutions®, author of Life Changing Esthetics®, and a licensed master aesthetician, cosmetologist, holistic cancer educator, and hope coach. owner of Oncology Spa Solutions (see her Oncology Course on our Advanced Training Page).

Wellness is a buzzword that has been a part of the spa world for many years now. Some call it a trend, some say it is the way of the future for spas and if you don’t jump on the wellness bandwagon you will be missing out.

What is wellness and what does it mean for a spa or a spa service? There are many ways to define wellness and even more reasons why we would want to include it in our own life and also our treatment rooms.

I will start with this quote by J. Stanford, “Health is a state of the body. Wellness is a state of being”. Wellness as defined by Webster a “the state of being in good health”. Does it mean our physical body needs to be in good health or does it mean more? Does it mean that our body, mind, and spirit all need to be in good health?

In the not-too-distant past, the medical world, food pyramids, dieticians, and such only focused on the body – the physical aspect. In today’s world, we now know so much more about the human body and that it works as one in tandem with the mind and the spirit. If that’s true, then our care, services, and treatments need to follow suit, and all be on a holistic level. That means incorporating treatments for the body, mind, and spirit – wellness embodied.


This is not just a trend in our industry, but hospitals and cancer centers are looking for wellness programs as well. The two hospitals that I work within Washington asked me last year to plan and facilitate some sort of event for their cancer patients along the wellness line. They didn’t know what they wanted; they just knew they needed it. So, I collaborated with a local cancer retreat location and put together a “Spa for the Soul” event. I gathered all the oncology-trained professionals in my area (aestheticians, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and a local naturopathic doctor that shares her knowledge about essential oils). I love that this is a gift we can give so easily with our touch, talents, and skills. And, the best part for me is seeing the smiles on the faces of the patients. They leave with a sense of wellness – refreshed, renewed, happy, and having met new friends. The next best benefit (unexpected at first) is that each one of the practitioner’s also left feeling refreshed and renewed. This is something that you could easily plan for your clients and community.

It started small and (you know how it goes) each attendee told a friend or two and now we have a full house of happy clients and caregivers receiving a day full of wellness two times a year.

In a world where spas (21,076) outnumber Starbucks (15,130) in the United States, (unbelievable, right?) wouldn’t this be a great way for you to serve your community and stand out? And, you would be doing something fun, different, and beneficial for all.


So, what does wellness have to do with skin health? Remember when you were in school, and we learned (hopefully) all the things that can impact skin health? Here are a few just to jog your memory:

  • Stress

  • Bad diet

  • Sugar

  • Alcohol

  • Lack of exercise

  • Lack of water or dehydration

  • Lack of sleep

All of these can be helped or remedied with a dose of mindful wellness. Let’s put this into a few client scenarios so you can see what I’m talking about:

Our first client lives a high-pressure life as a business owner and is always on the run. She tells herself, “It’s okay, I work best like this – you know, when my hair is on fire.” She works too much, doesn’t eat right (skips meals), drinks a lot of coffee, doesn’t hydrate, has (or takes) no time for the gym or exercise and when she comes in to see you, she has stressed, worn out, dehydrated skin and doesn’t know or understand why. She wants you to wave your magic “esty wand” and make it all go away. (Sound familiar?)

Can you “fix” her? What if you give her your best, hydrating, antiaging service that you offer and even add in all the bells and whistles? She might look good (or better) today when she leaves, but will she get the lasting results she was looking for if she doesn’t adjust the rest of her lifestyle? Do all of these things matter in skin care? Do you ask questions about lifestyle on your intake form? If not, do you really know what you are working with or how to help? What would you do with this client if she came in to see you? What wellness tips could you provide to help her cope?

The second client is a healthy yoga teacher who is vegan and practices self-care on a daily basis. She spends all day Sunday cooking and prepping meals so that she can ensure that she and her husband are eating properly. She usually has beautiful skin, and she loves seeing you and all that you do for her. Mostly, the hour break where she gets to be pampered and relax for a bit.

But this time when she comes in you notice that she has dark circles under her eyes and her skin doesn’t have her usual glow. What happened? What changed? When you start talking you find out that her mom was recently diagnosed with advanced cancer. And as her only daughter, of course, she stepped in to help her aging dad with all her mom’s new care. That means trips to the hospital and doctor’s office several times a week, cooking for Dad, and helping with all their household chores.

So, add that all up, not to mention the stress and heartache that she is experiencing when she thinks about losing her mom and it’s no wonder her skin is acting out. She is grabbing fast food when she must as she rushes through her days just to get it all done. By the time she gets home, takes care of her own home and hubby, she crashes. What can you do for this client? What tips for wellness can you suggest for helping her out? Do you have a referral network with someone that you could refer her to for some help?

We’ve all had clients like these. Did you feel equipped to help them with their new skin issues related to lifestyle?

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands – one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” by Audrey Hepburn.

Becky Kuehn is founder of Oncology Spa Solutions®, author of Life Changing Esthetics®, and a licensed master aesthetician, cosmetologist, holistic cancer educator, and hope coach. Her journey with started at the age of 18 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She had already lost friends and family members to cancer, so she was very familiar with the chaos and trauma associated with diagnosis and loss. As a cancer survivor for over three decades, she has made it her mission to discover and develop ways to turn around the devastating side-effects of cancer treatments and return quality of life to those in need. Kuehn is the founder and owner of Oncology Spa Solutions®, now the leading oncology training for spa, salon, and medical professionals. She is the author of “Life Changing Esthetics,” and a contributing author in the “Estheticians Guide to Outstanding Esthetics” Vol I and II. She has been part of the expert judge panel for The Skin Games’ Holistic, Compassionate, and Compromised skin categories. And, she provides advice and education articles for newspapers and industry leading magazines and is an invited speaker for oncology training at conventions.


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